De Barral a Bruguera: las novelas Harlem de Chester Himes en español (1975-1981)

Linder, Daniel. «From Barral to Bruguera: Chester Himes’s Harlem Novels in Spanish (1975-1981)». 1611: A Journal of Translation History, 16,2022

Translations of the Harlem series of detective novels by African-American author Chester Himes (1909-1984) became widely available and popular in the Editorial Bruguera (Barcelona) Serie Novela Negra between 1977 and 1981. Earlier efforts by Barral Editores (Barcelona) in its Serie Negra Policial (1973-1975) provided the initial boost for the Bruguera boom by seeking authorization for several of these novels from the censors in Spain in 1973, publishing a translation in 1975 and commissioning a translation which would be published by Bruguera in 1980. Examples from the 1975 translation, by Mario Albarcín, are analyzed. Argentinian writers and translators were behind the management of Bruguera (Ricardo Rodrigo), the editorial role in the series (Juan Carlos Martini) and the translations themselves (Ana Goldar, Ana María Becciú, Carlos Peralta and Marcelo Cohen). Examples of Himes’s style, including increasingly intensified swearing, increasingly explicit sex-related language, graphic violence and gore, humorous descriptions and frequent usage of hard-boiled criminal slang are analyzed. All Argentinian translators use exclusively European Spanish rather than their specific Latin American variety. Some patterns of attenuation, omission and standardization of slang are detected and discussed.

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